FG moves to protect children in digital environment

Pantami said the policy was in line with the International Telecommunication Union’s policy document for all its member countries.

Isa Ali Pantami
Federal Minister of Communications and Digital Economy of Nigeria

The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday in Abuja approved the National Child Online Protection Policy and Strategy.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Malam Isah Pantami, told newsmen at the end of Wednesday’s cabinet meeting that the strategy aimed at protecting children from the harmful side of the digital environment.

The meeting was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

Pantami said the policy was in line with the International Telecommunication Union’s policy document for all its member countries.

“There are many benefits of going online; the world population reached 10 billion on Nov. 15, 2022.

“Today, we have around 6.3 billion people online and by implication, among this number, you will discover many children.

“They will not be able to differentiate what is beneficial and what is harmful.

“According to a report by the International Telecommunication Union, more than one billion children were online during COVID-19 lockdowns for their studies because schools were shut.

“Today, without any solicitation, you will discover that many things are coming into your device on-line and unsolicited,’’ the minister said.

According to him, children will not able to avoid such unsolicited items online which will definitely affect their innocence; affect them morally and otherwise.

“The document has been titled: `keeping children safe in the digital environment’.

“All member countries have been urged to ensure they come up with a policy where children will be protected.

“It is because of this that we organised stakeholder engagement, where we invited around 37 institutions of government since it is multi-sector issue.

“The Ministry of Information and Culture, the National Broadcasting Commission and the National Orientation Agency, among others, have roles to play.

“The Office of the National Security Adviser and other security agencies have roles to play; the Ministry of Justice has a role to play to differentiate what is legal and what is illegal,’’ Pantami added

He said the cabinet also approved the Nigeria Data Protection Bill to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of data being submitted to government and to other institutions.

The minister said FEC also approved the National Duct One Policy aimed at institutionalising the provision of ducts during construction at federal, state a local government levels.

“This is the global best practice today.

“Before construction and even during the conceptualisation and design, there should be provision for ducts for road construction, bridges, rail lines, sea ports, and any important building,’’ Pantami said.